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Jan 14 12 tweets 3 min read
1/ The Wagner Group's apparent success in capturing Soledar appears to have been a Pyrrhic victory, with the mercenaries suffering such massive casualties that their future and ability to recover are now reportedly in doubt. ⬇️
2/ It was previously reported that Wagner's head Yevgeny Prigozhin saw the assault on Soledar as a way of strengthening his hand against the Russian Ministry of Defence (see below). However, Wagner's losses may now make this more difficult.
3/ The Russian VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reports that a source has told it that Prigozhin has gone to St Petersburg to discuss Wagner's fate, possibly with Putin. The source says:
4/ "There are suspicions that Wagner will be merged into the military. The Ministry of Defence troops in Soledar are now so spread out that it is not very clear whom they are blocking: the 'Musicians' [Wagner] or the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
5/ "Prigozhin flew away 'grey', but promises to deal with the situation at the top. It certainly doesn't look like a win."

Wagner also reportedly has major problems in replacing its losses.
6/ According to the source, "New raids on the zones [penal colonies] have started, but it's like a spoon poking at the bottom of an empty pot. Everyone who could was taken earlier.
7/ There were calculations at Wagner that they would be given the "500s" (refuseniks), but so far this has stalled. Prigozhin is hoping to push the issue through. And they are waiting for a new mobilization, which should add [more] '500s'."
8/ (For more on Wagner possibly forcibly recruiting refuseniks into penal battalions, see the thread below.)

The outcome of the battle of Soledar appears not to have strengthened Prigozhin's position as much as he had hoped earlier.
9/ "Prigozhin has been cheering everyone on, but there is a sense that he has lost confidence in his position, so the focus is shifting from the battlefield to information policy.

Now the main work will be done by those of his people who are in charge of media coverage.
10/ "Another of the attitudes is not to provoke the military. It is also forbidden to swear at [General Valery] Gerasimov.

Everyone prays that they don’t have to repeat everything with Bakhmut – the scale is gigantic compared to Soledar.
11/ "And there are no new people yet, the supply of shells has not been solved with the Ministry of Defence either. Moreover at Kreminna-Svatove, the 'Musicians' have to defend themselves there...
12/ Everybody is waiting for the big mobilization, and everything will become clear after it. In particular, whether Wagner will receive 500s." /end


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More from @ChrisO_wiki

Jan 14
1/ Over the past few months, Russia's local governments have been renovating old bomb shelters – even as far away as the border with north-east China – apparently to boost war fever. An entrepreneur has gone a step further by advertising a luxury "bunker hotel" outside Moscow. ⬇️ ImageImageImageImage
2/ Cold War-era bomb shelters have been reopened in localities from Belgorod on the Ukrainian border to Blagoveshchensk in the Russian Far East. In Moscow, shops and malls are being adapted to provide shelters with electricity and water for up to 15 million people. Image
3/ While some of this may be sensible – Ukraine has repeatedly attacked Belgorod and Moscow may theoretically be in range of new Ukrainian long-range missiles – it's likely that the Russian authorities want to instill in their population fear and a sense of being under attack.
Read 9 tweets
Jan 14
1/ Unfortunately this kind of incident does happen in wartime; it's not a surprise and it's not a blunder for Arestovych to admit it. Here's a famous example from the Blitz in World War 2.
2/ On 15 September 1940, RAF pilot Sgt Ray Holmes shot down a German Dornier 17 bomber over London, but was himself brought down by the disintegrating aircraft. (He supposedly rammed it, but this is disputed.) Image
3/ Two 50kg bombs from the Dornier landed on the lawns of Buckingham Palace but fortunately didn't explode. After losing its tail, the Dornier crashed in the forecourt of Victoria Station. Image
Read 10 tweets
Jan 13
1/ Belarus is creating its own version of the Wagner mercenary group, according to a report from Deutsche Welle's Russian service. A private security company called GardServis is said to be increasing its workforce and training to participate in hostilities. ⬇️ Image
2/ DW reports that according to Valery Sakhashchik, a member of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's 'shadow government' with responsibility for defence and security issues, GardServis has been training with Belarusian special forces for several months.
3/ Founded in 2019, the company is well-connected to elite figures. It's the only private security firm in Belarus that is allowed to possess firearms, under a June 2020 decree by President Lukashenko. It was sanctioned by the EU, Britain and the US in December 2021.
Read 14 tweets
Jan 13
1/ Russian tank repairmen in Belgorod have some explaining to do after they reportedly accidentally set on fire and blew up a T-72 tank they were repairing, also damaging two other tanks. ⬇️
2/ The Russian Bazabazon Telegram channel reports that a fire broke out at a tank repair base in Belgorod on the evening of 12 January, due to a violation of fire safety rules.
3/ The channel reports: "Due to a fire, ammunition detonated on one tank, as a result of which it was destroyed. The fire spread to two other T-72s standing nearby, but they were saved.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 12
1/ Yevgeny Prigozhin's apparently premature announcement of Soledar's capture has reportedly led to a desperate push by Wagner to make it a reality. Wagner is fighting without regard for casualties, not just to gain Soledar, but for Prigozhin's reputation.
2/ The Russian VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reports that a source (likely within Wagner) says of the situation at Soledar:

"It's a nightmare there now: the rush to announce a full takeover has led to the fact that one has to operate on the edge of what is possible.
3/ "The Wagnerites are literally being pushed from behind, everyone is being driven there – if Prigozhin personally has already announced a complete capture, then the price of the matter will no longer play a role. Losses for such a small section of the front are wild.
Read 10 tweets
Jan 12
1/ The Wagner Group's enormously bloody assault on Soledar is motivated by Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin's wish to strengthen his hand against the Russian Ministry of Defence in directing the war in Ukraine, according to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel. ⬇️
2/ According to a source (apparently a Wagner insider) quoted by VChK-OGPU, the mercenary company "urgently needs to be replenished in the region of 25-30 thousand people (primarily assault troops) just to make up for the total losses."
3/ (Note that this tracks reasonably well with the casualty figures cited by @michaeldweiss and @JimmySecUK in their article linked below – "the US estimates 4,100 have been killed and another 10,000 injured". The US figures may well be an underestimate.)…
Read 24 tweets

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